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Cingular announces TALKS to assist vision-impaired customers
Posted: 17-Sep-2004 [Source: Cingular]

[TALKS(tm) from Cingular and created with ScanSoft, converts information displayed on the Nokia 6620 screen into speech for output to the phone's internal speaker or an optional wired or Bluetooth headset.]

Boca Raton, FL -- Cingular Wireless today announced the launch of TALKS(TM), a speech-enabled application designed to address the needs of blind and low-vision mobile device users. TALKS by Cingular Wireless gives the blind and low vision consumer equal access to many of today's advanced wireless services. Created in partnership with ScanSoft, Inc., TALKS is compatible with the Nokia 6620, essentially turning it into a "talking mobile phone." TALKS converts menus, instructions and content displayed on the Nokia 6620 mobile phone screen into speech for output to the phone's internal speaker or through an optional wired or Bluetooth headset.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, there are approximately 10 million people who are blind or have low vision in the United States.* TALKS allows the blind and low-vision community to be more productive since audible cues allow users to access advanced communications services such as text messaging, email and phone directories. One of the unique features of TALKS is the talking incoming caller ID via natural sounding, computer- generated speech. Typically, blind and low-vision mobile users must answer the phone to learn who is calling. TALKS eliminates the guessing game by enabling a person to hear who is calling and be selective with the calls they take, as would any sighted customer.

With TALKS and the Nokia 6620, users can**:

- Hear caller ID information and check logs of incoming and outgoing calls

- Write and hear emails, text messages and notes

- Manage contact information and dial phone numbers from the directory

- Use the appointment calendar

- Edit and add contacts, settings and profiles according to their personal preferences

- Use the calculator, unit converter, alarm clock and other tools

- Receive audible information about the battery level, network and signal strength

TALKS uses ScanSoft's software to make the wireless handset talk by providing dynamic, detailed and personalized information through an automated voice familiar to the blind community. TALKS will tell users if email or text messages have arrived or how many calls they missed, and will speech-enable the most important key functions for the phone. TALKS allows blind and low- vision customers to fully integrate today's wireless technologies into their lives.

The product "package" includes the handset and software, sold separately. The Nokia 6620 can be purchased for $299 after the $100 rebate from Nokia; this is based on a two-year commitment. The TALKS software retails for $199, however Cingular Wireless is offering an introductory rebate offer. For a limited time, customers with qualifying visual disabilities can receive a $199 service credit rebate (for a two-year contract) or a $100 service credit rebate (for a one-year contract). Currently, the Nokia 6620 is the only handset Cingular offers that is compatible with TALKS.

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